ATA asks Supreme Court review of Oregon tax decision

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The American Trucking Associations has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Oregon Supreme Court’s rejection of its Commerce Clause challenge to aspects of Oregon’s weight-distance tax system.

The case involves the so-called flat-fee option, which allows transporters of certain commodities to pay a fixed annual fee instead of the state’s mileage tax. ATA highlighted in its petition a unanimous Oregon Court of Appeals ruling that found that the flat-fee option violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Contrasting the Court of Appeals ruling with that of the Oregon Supreme Court, ATA submitted that the Oregon Supreme Court ruling had misapplied Commerce Clause standards, ignored the inherent adverse effects on interstate commerce caused by flat trucking fees, and improperly refused to consider evidence that confirmed that the flat fees resulted in per-mile tax savings for flat-fee payers, virtually all of which are Oregon-based motor carriers.

Oregon remains one of only four states to continue to rely on weight-distances taxes as a source of highway funding.

The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to decide before the end of its current term in July whether it will hear the ATA appeal. If a review is granted, the Court would hear oral arguments next fall.